On August 16th, I competed in the Timberman 70.3 which is located in my home state of New Hampshire. Leading up to the race, I had a lot going on. My buddy Elliot Kawaoka flew in to do the race. Elliot lives in Arizona so I don’t see him too often, but he is a very good friend and we’ve got a lot in common. I was hounding him for months to get him to come to NH and do this race for a while and I’m ready glad he came. We had an awesome time the whole time he was here and he was a very easy house guest. However, because Ironman Mont Tremblant was the same day as Timberman, I had the majority of my clients racing either at Timberman or Tremblant. This made for a very busy couple weeks leading up to the race, not to mention that my training volume was pretty high as Timberman was not an A race for me. I was very excited to have so many clients racing, but it does stress me out a bit as my athletes’ performances are extremely important to me. I can honestly say I get far more satisfaction out of seeing my clients succeed than I do in my own success. Another aspect of Timberman is that since its a local race, it adds a bit a pressure, but I want to be darn sure that I perform well at an event that will have a lot of eyes on me.
The initial plan was for the fam, Elliot, and I to head to Laconia and stay at one of my client’s house Saturday night. However, we got a late start getting up there and since it was only for one night, Kristen and I decided it may be best if she and the boys just stayed home. I wanted them to come, but given that they really wouldn’t be coming to the race anyway if they came (I wasn’t going to get them up at 4am to head to the transition area), it was probably for the best. However, after I arrived at Gunstock for athlete check in, I realized I forgot my swim skin and there was a chance it would be a non wetsuit swim. Since I was planning to wear my sleeved tri suit, I really needed my swim skin if it was a non wetsuit swim. As a result, I decided to drop Elliot off to stay with his uncle and I headed home so I could sleep at home with the family and get my swim skin.
Prior to that, we did have an awesome PTC/NEMS team dinner. Thank you to Robin Tylim and Bobby Walczak for helping to make they happen. We had a decent number of members come and it was a very nice dinner. Here is a pic:
So after dinner, I dropped Elliot off and went home. I did a little repacking and headed to bed around 9, which was a bit later than I wanted to, but didn’t want to stress about it and it was nice to sleep in my own bed.
Race morning, I got up around 3:15am so that I could head to transition. Its really only about an hour from my house so it wasn’t a bad drive at all. I got to transition in time to park near the transition area and that worked nicely since my wave didn’t go off until 8am.
I had an awesome spot in transition, right next to the pros and also right near the bike in and out. This also meant I was right near where everyone was coming into transition so I got to see so many friends, clients, and club members and chat with them for a few minutes. This did make it take a while for me to get my transition setup, but it was so great to see so many familiar faces. Once transition closed, Elliot and I hung out around my truck and talked some smack to each other. I was getting a bit nervous as the race got closer as I wanted to have a good performance.
Swim: 30:08 – AG Rank: 13, Overall Rank: 137
My swim has been in a bit of a funk this year and I’ve been trying to work my way through it. I’ve been working with Stacy Sweetser at Sweet Water Swim Studio quite a bit this year. Stacy is fantastic. She has an excellent background and is an excellent teacher. We’ve been making some adjustments to my stroke and I’m hoping its a matter of me taking a small step back to make a big step forward with my swim.
I started out in the front and got off to a good start. I knew Elliot’s goal was to stay on my feet and we were hoping to break 30 minutes. There was some congestion at the beginning, but it wasn’t bad. A few guys got out in front of me, but I was able to spend some time on some feet as well. However, as we got a few minutes in, I started passing the earlier swim waves folks. This caused me to end up doing a good amount of weaving which was not ideal. However, I focused on my technique and felt good throughout the swim. Literally as I popped up to exit the swim, my watch beeped notifying me of the 30 minutes. This did mean my swim was about 45 seconds slower than last year, but I was fine with it and still felt like a had a decent swim.
Transition 1: 1:39
You have to run along the beach for a while and they had wetsuit strippers just before the actual transition area so I decided to use them. I then headed over to my bike and saw that Elliot’s bike was still there (we were racked right next to each other) so I knew I was out in front of him. I got my bike pretty smoothly and headed out without an issues so not much to report in T1.
Bike: 2:20:48 – AG Rank 4th, Overall Rank: 34th, Avg Power: 270
I was excited to get out on the bike and really get racing. I haven’t felt great on the bike in my previous two 70.3’s this year so I was really hoping to have a good ride. I ended up waiting to put my feet into my shoes until I got to the first downhill which is probably a good mile or so into the ride. Once I got settled in, I noticed that 2 of my gels were gone. I didn’t panic because lucky I had packed a couple extra. I also wanted to make sure I got plenty of fluids in, especially with it being a hot day.
After a few miles, one guy from the 35-39 age group passed me. I decided to try to ride with him and pushed it a bit as we headed into the first round of hills. We ended up going back and forth a couple times. After the 3rd or 4th time I passed him back, I asked him if he was shooting for a 2:20 bike split or so and he said yes. As a result, I knew he would be a good guy to keep me in check. We ended up going back and forth pretty much the entire ride until the very end when I got away from him. However, he would pass me on the climbs and then I would pass him back on the downhills.
About 15-20 miles in, a guy from my age group ended up passing me. He was riding well, but I again used this as motivation to push the pace a bit. The 3 of us ending up going back and forth a lot as we passed lots of people that started before us.
Everything was going well until I got to the turnaround point where there was an aid station. I pulled over to the right side to grab a Gatorade and right after I do, I slam right into the back of a guy that was essentially stopped directly in the line of all the volunteers. We hit wheel to wheel and he went down. Luckily I stayed upright. I felt really bad that he went down, but I am still confused why he was stopped here. I felt bad that he went down, but I do not consider myself at fault and there was not much I could do to help him. This is part of the problem with having the faster age groupers start so late into the race. I had to pass hundreds of people on the bike and there is extra congestion like this. If I had started earlier, I highly doubt this would have happened.
I was a little flustered from the accident and was upright when we collided. As soon as I tried to get back down into my aero bars, I realized that they’ve moved! Now my left aero bar is raised up and my right aero bar is pulled down. My aero bottle was also dangling and flipped over numerous times during the rest of the ride. I also was tempted to ditch it at a couple points, but was glad I was able to hold onto it. Besides it being a bit awkward riding in the aero position, the rest of the ride was relatively uneventful. I stayed the same vicinity as the guy my AG and the guy from the 35-39 AG I had been riding near. Towards the end, the guy in my AG got out in front of me a bit and as mentioned earlier, I got away from the older guy.
As I headed into T2, I was feeling pretty good and thought I had a chance of breaking 2:20 for my bike split, but it came a bit short. The no passing section at the end didn’t do me any favors. Nonetheless, I was happy with my ride and it was over 3 minutes faster than last year. I was happy with it.
Transition 2: 0:56
T2 started off a bit rocky. There were a bunch of people at the mount line so I wasn’t able to do the flying dismount. Nonetheless, I got off fine and was pretty quick in transition. Not much else to report.
Run: 1:27:12 – AG Rank 2nd, Overall Rank: 29 Avg pace: 6:36
Well it was definitely hot by the time I got out on the run. My run hasn’t quite been as strong this year as well so I really wanted to make sure I didn’t go out too hard. There is a gradual hill to start so I started out at around a 6:45 pace. This felt comfortable. However, I knew there was at least one guy in my AG that was ahead of me so I was eager to see him. Come to find out, there were actually 2 guys in front of me. One of which was the guy that beat me to T2 in Syracuse. He struggles a bit on the run so I passed him pretty quickly. However, within about 2.5 miles, the guy I was more concerned with was in sight. He looked like he was running ok, but I was gaining on him pretty quickly. Just after the first turnaround, I passed him. From there, I hoped to see Elliot soon. I hadn’t seen him since the start and a part of me was really hoping he was gaining on me. Within a mile or so I saw him and I told him there were a few guys in our AG ahead of him so try to catch them. The rest of the first loop was relatively uneventful. My pace was a bit slower than I wanted, but I was keeping my heart rate in check and doing my best to stay cool.
As I headed out on the 2nd loop, I was confident that if I held my pace, I would take the age group win. However, since they continue to split my AG into 2 swim waves, I knew there were guys in the wave that started a few minutes after me that could be hunting me down. I used that as motivation and pushed on. I ended up being about 30 seconds slower on the 2nd half of the run and was disappointing. However, given the conditions, I was ok with it. I did pick it up as the finish approached, but not quite as much as I did last year. I did pass one of my clients, Jim Piper, who took 4th in his AG towards the end and passed another one of my clients, Bobby Walczak, as I was heading into the finisher chute and he was headed out for his 2nd lap.
Total Time: 4:20:43, AG Rank: 1, Overall Rank: 33, 4th Overall Age Grouper
I was pretty hot when I crossed the line. However, some of clients, friends, and my coach were waiting down near the line. We chatted for a while and I waited for friends and clients to come across the line. I also wasn’t sure if I had won my age group so I waited for the Ironman app to update hoping I would have gotten the win. That ended up being the case and I was pretty psyched to have won my age group in all 3 Ironman 70.3’s I raced in this year. It was also great to do it on the home turf and get see/chat with some many clients and friends after the race. The awards weren’t until 4pm, but we waited around and I got my maple syrup. Here is a pic of me getting my award:
After the race, Elliot and I grabbed some dinner at the Tilton Diner and headed home. We got to hang out that night and then celebrate his 30th birthday the next day. It was great to hang out with him for almost a week, get a little training in together, and have him spend some time with the family. It appears after spending his time with us, he has decided he will not be having children. 🙂
A few days later, one of my clients brought it to my attention that I was now rank #1 in the world for the 70.3 distance! I was pretty shocked and amazed by this. However, I do have the maximum number of points possible since I did win my AG in all three 70.3’s that I raced this year. I must say that there are definitely some guys in my AG that are faster than me, but I am extremely honored to hold this rank. Just in case you thought I was pulling your chain, here is a link and screenshot 🙂 :
So what’s up next? The main event!!! My goal and focus this entire year is Ironman Maryland on October 3rd. My training has been going well and I am very excited for the race. I have to get another 4 weeks or so of solid training in, but I know the big day will be here before I know it and I can’t wait.
Thanks so much for everyone’s support. I would like to specifically thank my Wife, my boys Calvin and Eli, my family, Zoot Sports and the Team Zoot, Ceepo, The Velo Resource, Smith Optics, Cobb Cycling, BKool indoor bike trainers, Garmin, Lake Cycling, Peak Triathlon Coaching, and NorthEast MultiSport,